by Jennifer Ward
“The first draft of anything is shit.” – Ernest Hemingway
In a recent discussion in my Editing and Coaching class, my classmates and I talked about editing approaches. I mentioned the Hemingway app, and I was surprised to find that most of my classmates had yet to hear of it. About a year ago, I gave the app a trial run. Since then, I have continued to use it regularly. In comparison with other writing apps like Grammarly, Hemingway is built differently. It won’t pick up tiny errors like misplaced commas, but it will help you strengthen your writing piece in other ways. In life, we need different friends for different reasons, which is how writing apps work. We can’t have only one. What one friend brings, another one offers something completely different. The Hemingway app is like a friend who has a certain je ne sais quoi we’re all drawn to. We don’t always know how to express how great something or someone is, but we know we love it.
Ernest Hemingway was unique in his style of writing and as an individual. His real strength as a writer was in his short, succinct sentences and straightforwardness. He was a master at dialogue, creating conversations that would read in a realistic way. This type of writing leads the reader closer to the heart of the story without having to find their way through loads of adverbs, adjectives, and metaphors. Some of us prefer a more direct approach when it comes to fiction, and on the other hand, some of us love lengthy, flowery prose. Neither is wrong. This app is beneficial if your fiction writing style tends to be more descriptive, like me. But, even if you are drafting a piece of nonfiction, like a blog post or article, this app works well in improving overall clarity. Let’s get into the pros and cons of this handy app.
- There is a free version you can try first.
- It comes with a built-in counter that shows how many words, characters, sentences, paragraphs, and letters your writing piece contains.
- Great for blog posts, articles, and other short pieces of writing.
- It tracks your reading time.
- It provides a readability scale by using a grade-level system.
- Based on the length of the piece, it will set a limit of adverbs.
- It highlights the use of passive voice.
- The app also notes sentence structure and how many sentences are difficult to read, pushing you to write clear and punchy prose.
- You can easily copy and paste your writing into the app and toggle back and forth from your manuscript if needed.
- If you like it and decide to purchase it, it costs $19.99 for Windows or Mac (I opted for the paid version after testing it out).
- This app isn’t designed to pick up spelling or punctuation errors.
- This app doesn’t integrate into Microsoft Word or Outlook like Grammarly.
- Not great for longer pieces of writing.
- It doesn’t offer formatting or organization suggestions like other apps.
Below is a screenshot of what your text might look like inside the app.
Which writing apps do you prefer? Have you used the Hemingway app? Have you found it helpful? Let’s start a conversation in the comments below.
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